For more than ten years, the California Endangered Species Act list has languished without additions. On August 25, 2016, the California Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to grant Endangered Status to the Livermore tarplant (Deinandra bacigalupii). We congratulate all involved in this monumental achievement! It was nearly two years ago that our East Bay chapter’s Rare Plant Chair, Heath Bartosh, submitted the key petition paperwork in 2014 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Featured image credit, Heath Bartosh)

Dienandra bacigalupii was named in honor of Rimo Bacigalupi, first Curator of the Jepson Herbarium. It is an annual Aster with radiate yellow flowers displayed from June to October. D. bacigalupii prefers alkaline, poorly drained, and seasonally dry soil. Livermore tarplant is endemic to the Livermore Valley and does not co-occur with other tarplants in the Deinandra genus, even though its aromatic smell and some rough morphological characters are reminiscent. Unfortunately, only a handful of small populations of Livermore tarplant currently exist, and only one large primary occurrence, which overlaps with EBCNPS’ Springtown Botanical Priority Protection Area. Since informal tracking began ten years ago, at least one population has been completely lost due to construction, and all suffer threat of habitat destruction, as well as encroachment from nonnative plant species and unpermitted recreation activities, etc. Recognizing and protecting highly vulnerable, rare native plants is the ideal outcome of the California Endangered Species Act listing process (and here is more general info on laws protecting California native plants).

Efforts to document Livermore tarplant’s distribution and threats to existence since its original description in 1999, demonstrate the dedicated efforts of many. This is a success that can be shared by all involved in the process but especially Jeb Bjerke (CDFW), Cherilyn Burton (CDFW), Jim Andre (CNPS), Greg Suba (CNPS), Bruce Baldwin (UC/JEPS), Sue Bainbridge (UC/JEPS), and Heath Bartosh (EBCNPS). Thank you to everyone who contributed. With this listing, this very rare plant has the highest level of protection in California, especially on private land. The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s staff recommendations encompass a full description of the plant and its habitat, and shows the timeline for consideration of the petition.

Specifically, the motion which approved the Livermore tarplant petition, reads:

the Commission, pursuant to Section 2075.5 of the Fish and Game Code, found the information contained in the petition to list Livermore taplant (Deinandra bacigalupii), and the other information in the record before the Commission warrants listing Livermore tarplant as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act.

AND

the Commission, authorizes publication of its intent to amend Section 670.2, Title 14, CCR, to add Livermore tarplant to the list of plants of California declared to be endangered.

Unfortunately, a lack of additions to the endangered species status list is likely not due to a lack of endangered species in California. We hope this success will encourage a resurgence of petition submittals.

Karen Whitestone

More media:

East Bay Times: Livermore Flower Placed on Endangered Species List 

Bay Nature: Livermore Tarweed

CNPS Fremontia, volume 43.1: Future Directions for the CNPS Rare Plant Program, article describing the unfortunate “strong disconnect between the numbers of qualifying taxa and the reality of successful listing efforts.”

 

 

 

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